I’ve written about supporting BIPOC before. This time I want to be more specific and lift up Native + Indigenous + First Nations + Metis + Inuit communities.
I typically focus on my own Black experience, but I must recognize that I have not done more to support my Native siblings. Black death and pain have been sensationalized in this country, but Native suffering has been pushed under the rug. I cannot grow complacent in their pain.
Native folks have to endure erasure by their countries’ colonizers yet at the same time exotification & appropriation. Despite European diseases and horrendous genocide, many have perserveared. I am forever awed by their resilience and continuation of so many different tribes’ traditions.
I ask that instead of participating in this fake holiday, do some real good and follow these suggestions below.
RECOGNIZE WHOSE LAND YOU OCCUPY
The website Native-Land.ca can show which tribe(s) land you live on. My favorite part is once you find out results, you can click on the tribe(s) website and learn more about their communities. A lot of knowledge can be gained here, much of which was not included in our typical eurocentric history classes.
The site has a disclaimer that it isn’t as detailed as it could be, but is growing due to contributions from the community.
SEEK OUT LOCAL INDIVIDUAL & COMMUNITY FUNDS
If you have funds to spare, try and find a local community to support. Or if you happen to see specific people in need, give via venmo/paypal/cashapp.
FOLLOW INDIGENOUS CREATORS
If funds are short, an easy & free way to help is to follow Indigenous artists, educators, and activists. Sharing their knowledge allows more people to understand and helps combat the unjust erasure.
BUY FROM INDIGENOUS DESIGNERS
A quick google search will show lists with some popular Native brands. I recommend digging even further. See what the creators you’ve followed are sharing. Check what’s on your wishlist and see if you can find it from a Native brand.
Always make sure that the brand is Indigenous owned. There are too many white owned brands that sell “Native inspired” items and in no way help the people they capitalize off of. DO NOT SUPPORT THOSE BRANDS!
Remember, much like my own African diaspora, Indigenous folks are not a monolith. There are many different tribes and communities all over the world with unique traditions and perspectives. Learning about those differences and respecting them is one way to honor those who participate in them.
Until next time, stay Sheek!